Veterans studying at the Kentfield campus of the College of Marin now have a place to socialize and get a reprieve from civilian life.
The college is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon for a new office for veterans in the Student Services Building.
The office -- furnished with desks, computers, printers, a sofa and a television -- will be a haven for the roughly 100 veterans attending the college where they can receive support, access college and community resources and relax with fellow veterans, school officials said.
"This is a population that is trying to transition into the college community and the population at large," Dr. Arnulfo Cedillo, director of student affairs and health center, said in a statement. Gabriel Carsillo, 29, the president of the college's Veterans Association who served eight years in the Army and has been studying nursing at the College of Marin since 2009, said the new center is "definitely a necessity" and will guide veterans to job and other services.
"You do have a lot of challenges coming back from active duty to start a new life," Carsillo said. "The Veterans Administration is not perfect," he said. "The system still has a lot of red tape to access benefits."
He said that now, student veterans will have direct access to Marin County Veterans Services Officer Sean Stephens. The center also will provide a place for veterans to do their homework, Carsillo said.
The center's creation was funded by a $5,000 grant from the College of Marin Associated Students, a $1,200 grant from the College of Marin Foundation and college in-kind services for the renovation of the office.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Student Services Building, Room 112, on the Kentfield campus.
--Bay City News Service